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Eyewitness Accounts And Breaking News: Perception Is Everything

Our perceptions are as unique as our fingerprints. Journalists know first-hand that eyewitness accounts are not objective. When news breaks, each eyewitness will have a different view of what they’ve seen or experienced.

 “We see the world not as it is, but as we are.” - Immanuel Kant, German philosopher

Good journalism requires accurately navigating multiple perspectives in order to understand a story as completely as possible. The ability to quickly assemble multiple accounts of a breaking news event is invaluable. Social media is now providing journalists with a unique way to see the many sides of a story and helping them to understand it better.

Location-based journalism tools such as Echosec are helping journalists leverage social media data in a rapid, easy to digest format. The technology allows users to create a digital boundary (geofence) on a map and instantly uncover all publicly available social data from within that geofence.

By geofencing a particular event or landmark anywhere in the world, Echosec allows users to see and analyze the uniquely captured perspectives of that event or place. Journalists using the platform can discover eyewitnesses who have shared their perspectives to social media in real time, as well as from recent history. Let's use the example of a cultural experience as huge as the Superbowl or the Oscars.  Rather than watching the game or the red carpet from the narrow perspective of one’s living room, we now have tools that grant us access to the event as seen by the people participating in and engaging with it online.



Eyewitness Accounts are Just the Beginning

Reporting breaking news is just skimming the surface of what's possible with the help of these tools. Tourism and hospitality companies are finding tremendous value in the tech as well. Social intelligence allows us to experience culturally significant spaces in the world like Vatican City, the Pyramids, and the Blue Mosque, or natural landmarks like Victoria Falls. We are now granted access to places that are difficult to see, or in some cases not accessible to the general public. The Lascaux Caves in France are now closed for viewing because CO2 exhaled from visitors was damaging the 20,000-year-old cave drawings.  By accessing the social media from the area, we can gain access to view the caves via people who were some of the last to exhale in this magical place.

Location-based social search engines give us the world on a computer screen. People who have visited significant locations or experienced breaking news events capture and share unique moments that can now be used as profound insights to inform myriad industries. Whether it's for eyewitness accounts or travel tips, we can now see the world as others have experienced it.  A social media lens is an authentic and intimate glimpse into the true essence of place.

Find out how Echosec can support your OSINT strategy with location-based data discovery.